Some thoughts while reading Genesis 2

(Posted by Joel Beeke)

“The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.” ―Genesis 2:8

The garden of Eden is a microcosm of the loving, detailed, wise, and lavish provision of God for man as the crown and glory of creation. The world God prepared for man included:

● Physical provision. God gave man food to eat from the trees of the garden (Gen. 2:9), and He has been supplying food ever since. God also supplied man with physical work. He put Adam in the garden “to dress it and to keep it” (v. 15). Work is a pre-fall gift of our Creator. We were created to be industrious. Lack of discipline and laziness are results of our fallen condition.

● Spiritual provision. God gave man the Sabbath for his spiritual profit and physical rest. God wove rest and work into the pattern of His creation by His own example (vv. 2–3). The Lord offers the Sabbath as the day in which we meet with Him, learn of Him, enjoy Him, and commune with Him. In this communion, we find our highest work and chief glory. Do you know the Sabbath joy of communing with God?

● Moral provision. Having set man in the bounty of Eden, God told him what he must and must not do (vv. 16–17). Without this moral stimulus, man would have remained less than man. This moral requirement of man is often caricatured as only prohibitive, but God did not put man into the garden and say, “Now don’t touch,” like a parent warns a child going into a department store. Rather, God said: “The entire garden, with all its trees, is for you, except one, so that you might learn obedience to Me as your perfect Creator and Father. You will remain free and happy as long as you live in obedience to My holy commandments, which are good and perfect. My commandments are not a burden to be carried but a blessing to be embraced.”

● Aesthetic provision. God provided trees “pleasant to the sight” (v. 9). Eden’s trees were not just useful; they were beautiful.

● Social provision. God met Adam’s social needs by providing a helpmeet for him (v. 18). He provided a marital relationship that was complementary (v. 18) and exclusive (v. 24), creating another means by which man could give God glory.

That is lavish provision, indeed! Still today, God, in and through Christ, meets all our needs as He sends us into the world to live for Him. But our true freedom and full humanity can be realized only when we live within the boundaries of His perfect will. We become fully developed as God’s creation when we live in obedient faith to our Provider and pursue His glory with all that is within us.

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